Today we took a hike out to Pioneer Cabin. It’s located east of Sun Valley, Idaho. It offers extremely good views of the Pioneer Mountains.
To access the trailhead, you’ll head east out of Sun Valley via Sun Valley Road. This will eventually turn into Trail Creek Road. The Trail Creek Summit is impassible in the winter but you won’t need to go that far to reach the side road you’ll be taking to the trailhead. Hope on Carrol Creek Road (Forest Road 137) and take it until the end. You’ll pass plently of camp sites. The road is in decent condition and even with a little bit of snow, we were able to make it to the trailhead in our Subaru Legacy.
The trailhead is obvious and there are bathrooms.
Ascending to the Cabin
The 8.9 mile loop circles around within the mountains directly in front of the trailhead. You’ll gain a little over 3000 feet in the process. A counter-clockwise direction is recommended to avoid descending down the shady side of the trail.
There was a couple inches of snow when we ascended (Mid-November). We had no issues and had neither poles nor microspikes. The winding switchbacks are gradual. The trail is very well marked and well maintained. The views grow increasingly impressive of the valley and beyond. You’ll be able to see Bald Mountain and into the Sawtooth Mountains north of Ketchum.
You have no visibility into the Pioneer Mountains until your crest the saddle and overlook the Pioneer Cabin. The view is breathtaking. The little bit of snow made it even more magical.
The cabin itself is minimal but recently updated. It has six bunk beds, a small kitchen and a wood burning stove. We stayed for about a half hour and took a lot of pictures of the mountains.
Descending from the Cabin
We finished the loop by descending down the Long Gulch Trail. The snow was a bit deep as we had not prepared for it. We had no poles or snow shoes. It was a bit of a tricky descent but not dangerous. You will make your way down from the upper ledge to the Corral Creek below. Once you pass the creek, you will ascend a bit more back up to another ridge where you will have great views of the Pionner Mountains and Bald Mountain. You take a gradual ridge all the way back to the trailhead.